“Entrepreneurs should avoid seeking seed money, and any sort of investment before they have a working prototype…”
Our Outstanding British Pakistani of the Month is our very own Mohammed Ali from Dewsbury, Yorkshire! A 16-year-old tech genius and entrepreneur – Ali launched his first company at the age of 12, has created a video game, a financial app for the stock market, held the position of CTO at the World Currency Gold Rates and, is now, working to launch his website WeNeed1.com worldwide. We were lucky enough to catch up with him for a quick interview!
Follow him on Twitter @modaliuk
Tell us about how old you were when you started and what got you interested in learning computer programming languages and security?
I was 4 years old, and was very keen to grow my knowledge in technology as it was growing fast in 2004. In Nursery, all I ever did was play on the computer and from that day onwards I knew that computers were the way forward for me. It was a challenge getting my first PC as my parents were not tech-savvy at all, so much nagging was required to get my first computer! Since that day, I started to play games and was keen on how they were developed which led me to watch videos and read books about programming. However, my leadership qualities do not derive from the computer, but my passion in becoming a head teacher which gradually became isolated as I become the CEO and CTO’s of companies.
Do you have any role models or mentors you look up to?
I have always looked up to one Microsoft Co-founder turned philanthropist, Bill Gates who has made billions from his own creation, but it’s not only that factor which inspired me. However, the fact that he has donated a huge chunk of his wealth to the poor, and is helping to end poverty. It disgusts me when I look up to professional people like Donald J Trump who are using their money in the wrong way that includes gaining unjust power.
How long was the process that led to you creating your game, Project 2006, at the age of 12? Including research, programming, launch etc.
I was only experimenting in the initial stage of my own journey, launching Project 2006 was very difficult as I had no contacts or a network. To fulfil my dream in becoming a leader, I used my self-taught skills to launch the game. It went global which motivated me more. It did take more than a year for a stable launch however.
Tell us about your role as CTO at the World Currency Gold Rates? How did you get it and what were some of the key lessons you learnt?
It was the skills and experience accumulated from my previous work that got me the role. In addition, my passion to learn more about technology, which is a major benefit as employees want people that love their field. The main lesson learnt in my time at World Currency Gold Rates was to always be careful in controlling your finances, successfully launching it with a low monthly burn rate.
Tell us about your own media agency, what are some of the web applications and mobile apps that you have developed? Do you have a favourite one and why?
I remember starting my media agency and doing work for free, working with charities to help launch their websites which has included Global Welfare Project. My favorite project has been WeNeed1.com, my latest which is a price comparison website that puts the buyer in control for anything needed including motor insurance all the way to electronic items. It is the opposite of classified ads websites and is better than other comparison websites as it provides real-quotes which is much more accurate and reliable for consumers.
Seeing that you have single-handedly coded the WeNeed1 platform – is this an area which you would like to continue in for other programmes as well? Have you had any more offers to do so?
I have had many offers to develop other companies’ apps and websites, however, WeNeed1.com has done exceptionally well and is already about to launch in other countries worldwide where I will be flying out to soon.
We hear that you deliver speeches to inspire other entrepreneurs worldwide – what is some of the most valuable advice you can give to other entrepreneurs looking to start out?
I think that entrepreneurs should avoid seeking seed money, and any sort of investment before they have a working prototype. Moreover, to facilitate the prototype, they should get an audience to prove that their startup is worth using. Always stay focused and do not make money your main motivation but your concept and how it will help to change the future and the world. I am also talking at Millennial20-20 London about consumer’s data with companies that include eBay, John Lewis, Sainsbury’s, AirBnb and more.
Do you have any future projects you are working towards or have in mind?
I am working to launch WeNeed1.com worldwide to help consumers there, and grow my network even more. In addition, working on a medical app and software that’s launching in the nearby future that is going to help patients and the NHS as the Chief Technology Officer (not allowed to release more information at the moment).